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  • Writer's pictureDarryl Buckle

Stalking Horse

I came across an idiom recently that I had never heard before.


stalking horse

A Stalking Horse:

It’s a hunting thing – You’re a hunter. You all stealthy-like set up a blind in the shape of a horse that you hide behind so wee Bambi family doesn’t know you’re about to orphan the little guy.

Don’t feel bad. You’re a hunter! Steathy-like-ed-ness is one of the great skills or attributes of great hunters.

Course if you’re a deer, it’s a different story. You have every right to question the justice of such trickery.



Relax. It’s just an expression right?  Sure.  But that’s what I like about this.  Idea become metaphor become idiom.  You don’t have to change many of the details of the story and stealthy becomes sneaky becomes something even more sinister.

That happens in my life too.  I get an idea of something I want.

…I think about how I can get what I want

…I think about how to get it easier

…with little complication

…without opposition.

And there’s no question, easy > hard.  Right?

The math adds up – and people have worked those same numbers long before The Greek playwright Sophocles wrote in Electra (c 409 B.C.), ‘The end excuses any evil,’.

Easy is better than hard.

And whether I’d call it that (evil) or not, you’ve started making decisions that maybe you never would have imagined yourself making.

  1. Maybe you lied to get out of a jam.

  2. Cheated a client or co-worker to get a sale or a promotion.

  3. Maybe you sold someone out so you wouldn’t look so bad.

Outside of surprise Birthday parties, I’m not sure there are all that many occasions when people are happy to find out they were fooled.

And that’s why increasingly, no matter what setting you’re in, church, business or whatever, people value people with integrity.

I was reading the book of Psalms recently and read this:

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Psalm 24:3-5

God values integrity because God sees through pretence.  He sees through bluffs and charades and trickery.

God doesn’t see a horse.  He sees something else.

Have you got someone in your life who keeps you honest?

How do you recognize when you’re tempted to sacrifice your integrity to get what you want a little bit easier?

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